Southwick's Zoo, Mendon, Ma, USA (with Map & Photos)

Southwick's Zoo is a 300 acre (120 ha) privately owned and managed zoological park. in Mendon, Massachusetts, USA. It was opened in 1963 and is still a family run.

Southwick's Zoo
Southwick's Zoo

History


Southwick Manor (now occupied by the zoo) dates back to 1803, when it was a working dairy farm. In the 1930s, Justin F. Southwick began collecting exotic poultry. His son, Justin A. Southwick, shared his father's love for birds and became a leading expert on migratory waterbirds. In 1953, he sold his dairy herd to focus on birds. In 1956, he put a donation box in the shed where he kept his birds, which allowed him to buy more for his collection.

The family opened the zoo in 1963. In 1965, they founded two companies: Southwick's Wild Animal Farm Inc. and Southwick's Birds and Animals Inc., with Justin A. Southwick as president of both, his son Dan as vice president of Birds and Animals (which traded, sold and leased animals) and his son in law Robert Brewer as Vice President of Wildlife Farm. The Brewer family temporarily moved to other opportunities, and Dan Southwick took over the business in 1971. After his death in 1977, the zoo suffered for a while until the Brewer family returned and took over the operations.

The zoo has undergone many changes over the past 20 years, including updating many exhibits for larger natural habitats, including chimpanzees, lions, tigers, giraffes, to bring Southwick Zoo to the next level of tourist attraction. The zoo currently covers over 250 acres and is home to over 750 animals and includes New England's largest zoological park. In 2008, the Skyfari Skyride was introduced here, which is the only triangular chairlift in North America. The Woodland Train travels through natural wetlands and Elk Forest. In the past few years, new shows have been introduced for family entertainment and education, including Bird Shows and Training and Earth Educational Presentations.

Southwick's Zoo
Southwick's Zoo

An interactive attraction called Elkhorn Mining Company was founded in 2012. It features a walk through the mine that allows visitors to search for gold, gems, and fossils. Elkhorn Livery stables and pony rides are adjacent to the mine.

The Parrot Aviary is a walk where guests can feed free flying parrots. The zoo also has special attractions for children, including six mechanical rides, a park, and a petting zoo where guests can mingle with African pygmy goats and sheep. Southwick Zoo also offers encounters with giraffes and rhinos. Proceeds from encounters with rhinos are donated to the International Rhino Foundation to support rhino conservation. To this day, the zoo does not have an exhibition of elephants and elephants for public viewing: they have been moved.

The zoo is currently open from mid-April to October. The Purple Peacock Gift Shop, which can be visited without buying a zoo admission, is open daily from mid-April to December.

Other attractions


Southwick Zoo is home to over 115 species, so there are plenty of exhibits here, including capybaras, two-toed sloths, Brazilian tapirs, white rhinos, American alligators and many more.

The zoo has a petting zoo, pony and camel rides. There is also a play area for children with play structures made from recycled materials.

Skyfari Sky Ride, where visitors can explore most of the zoo in a triangle shape. opened in 2008. Visitors can see their alligator, watusi cattle, camels, chimpanzees, mandrills and fallow deer in a two-seater chairlift. This is a 15 minute ride.

Another ride offered at the zoo is the Woodland Express train. This rubber train travels through the North American Exposition, allowing visitors to get a closer look at the zoo's moose. It also passes through local wetlands, and horse riders often see native species, including herons, snakes, turtles and waterfowl. It's a 12 minute drive.

Southwick Zoo is also home to the Center for the Study of the Earth and EARTH Limited (Environmental Awareness of Resources and Threatened Habitats), a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to education and environmental education.

Southwick's Zoo Map